Cauliflower 'Spanish Rice' ♥ Reader Recipe

Cauliflower 'Spanish Rice', looks and tastes like Spanish rice but it's made with cauliflower ~ low-carb, vegan, gluten-free and for Weight Watchers, PointsPlus 2 ~ @
graphic button small size size 10 It looks like Spanish Rice. It tastes like Spanish Rice. But really? It's made with cauliflower and tomatoes, that makes it a low-carb and high-fiber "rice" dish. Yahoo! Weight Watchers PointsPlus 2. graphic button small size size 10

When my friend Sally from the Iowa blog Tip of the Iceberg mailed this recipe, she wrote, "I've used this recipe for years and it truly is excellent. I hope you can share it with the world." Verdict? It is truly excellent and Here, World, it is!

It looks like Spanish rice. It tastes like Spanish rice. And yet it's not made with rice, it's made with cauliflower. So it's a perfect choice for people who watch their carb intake for diets or diabetes. And good news, this doesn't taste like "diet food" – it's just plain good! And it looks so beautiful on a plate, too, adding color and texture, very pretty!

PS This isn't the first time I've used cauliflower to "fool" the table. Turns out, cauliflower can taste a lot like mashed potatoes, too, just see these Lighter Mashed "Potatoes" from Kitchen Parade, the recipe which prompted Sally to share hers. Thanks, Sally, your cauliflower "Spanish Rice" is a keeper!

"Incredible! Talk about a kid (and husband) friendly dish. Couldn't even tell it was cauliflower." ~ MTB Chik
"This is excellent." ~ Tanna from My Kitchen in Half Cups
"This is WAY fabulous! ... my Texas husband thinks it's great, too." ~ Lynn
"... I am in LOVE!" ~ Jess
"... it was AMAZING." ~ Teresa
"... oh my gosh, fantastic. ... I seriously might have a new favorite food." ~ Sara


Hands-on time: 25 minutes with occasional attention required throughout
Time to table: 1 hour
Makes 5 cups

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
8 ounces canned tomatoes, chopped
Salsa to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

COOK THE CAULIFLOWER by steaming in a vegetable steamer or boiling in salted water, cooking to the 'al dente' stage where it's cooked through but not soft. Chop fine.

MEANWHILE in a large skillet, heat the olive oil on MEDIUM til shimmery. Add the onion and green pepper and cook, stirring often, until golden. Add the garlic and cook for a minute. Add the tomatoes and stir in. When the cauliflower is cooked, stir it in and continue to cook, breaking up the cauliflower and tomatoes with the edge of a spatula while stirring. After cooking awhile, stir in the salsa. Keep cooking, keep tasting, adding more salsa and salt and pepper as needed. The dish is done when the liquid has cooked off, the salsa and seasoning are perfect, and the rest of supper is done too!

My cast iron skillet is about 10 inches across but a bigger one with a bigger cooking surface would have sped along the cooking process.
I was out of green pepper but one would add to the authentic look and feel of Spanish rice.
I used a good half cup, total, of two mild salsas (one tomato and one tomatillo) but started with a couple of tablespoons. If you're short on salsa, pull out the hot sauce!
This would work as a vegan main dish but could also easily be adapted to a rustic main dish, by adding tiny slices of pork or chicken. Note to Vegetarians
This dish could be made ahead and then reheated – and I bet the leftovers are fabulous!

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Still Hungry?


~ Roasted Cauliflower ~
~ Cauliflower Tomato Medley ~
~ Curried Cauliflower ~
~ more cauliflower recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Cauliflower Salad with Fresh Herbs ~
~ Cauliflower Risotto ~
~ Quick Cauliflower Soup ~
~ more cauliflower recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

Looking for healthy ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous Alphabet of Vegetables. Healthy eaters will love the low carb recipes and the Weight Watchers recipes.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2009 & 2015 (repub)
Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. I just got this recipe from a fellow blogger and she takes the head of cauliflower and grates it (raw) then cooks it...I love this dish I can eat the entire recipe! lol


  2. Great Cinco de Mayo dish!

  3. wow--when i first saw the title i thought you just added cauliflower to the recipe, but this is genius! i love cauliflower, especially cooked...

  4. I love making cauli-rice! I haven't yet turned it into spanish rice but surely will next time I need a mexi-side dish. I grate my raw cauliflower using the attachment for my food processor, then steam it in the microwave - easy peasy!

  5. Sounds intriguing and good!

  6. You're most welcome Alanna. I'm glad you liked it.

  7. Shauna-leeMay 06, 2009

    mmm... this sounds delicious. I love your site. I am going to make this cauliflower rice tonight and plan to use the leftovers (if there are any) for breakfast with the addition of some shredded cheese and eggs and voila! best omelette ever!

  8. Ran across this yesterday and just had to make it for Cinco de Mayo dinner. I simplified the steps a bit, but thanks for sharing the idea!

  9. Cauliflower seems to be everywhere these days and doing the most unusual things. This really does sound fabulous. Since my teenager claims cauliflower is one of his favorite vegetables I'm sure to give it a try.

  10. Cauliflower is one of our favorite veggies, so I can't wait to try this. We love mashed cauliflower better than mashed potatoes!

  11. I love cauliflowers. I really like the fact that one serving has less than 100 calories. thats awesome!

  12. AnonymousMay 08, 2009

    When do you add the garlic and how long do you cook it?

  13. Very good catch, anonymous, thanks muchly. I've fixed the recipe instructions for everyone's benefit.

  14. This will be on my table tonight!

  15. Alanna, this is such a fantastic, original idea.

  16. You can't go wrong with low carbs! Who knew cauliflower could be so useful! More recipes with cauliflower...more...more...more! :)

  17. Incredible! Talk about a kid (and husband) friendly dish. Couldn't even tell it was cauliflower.

    I used my pressure cooker and got 'er done in 2 minutes with 15 minutes of simmer time.


  18. This is excellent. I added a can of black beans.

  19. Another recipe I've just bookmarked! (Sorry for the absence - a little baby can be _very_ time-consuming and concentration-disturbing :))
    I love cauliflower in almost every disguise, and this sounds extremely appetising!!

  20. AnonymousJune 12, 2009

    Looks like I'll be buying cauliflower today...this sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe and so many others. I just came across your site and can't wait to see more. :)

  21. This is WAY fabulous! Just made it this afternoon and my Texas husband thinks it's great, too. Hope you don't mind if I link to the recipe on my site this week. I think my readers will love it, if they haven't found it already. Thanks for this. I can have my "spanish" rice without the carbs. Whoohoo!

  22. I am addicted to rice and am trying to learn to live without so much. lol I came across this recipe and I am in LOVE!

    Thank you!

  23. I made this tonight and besides the fact that it made enough people to feel my family of 2 for 6 months (which was a surprise, but not a bad thing) it was AMAZING.

    Thanks for the great idea.

  24. Cauliflower Spanish "Rice" was, oh my gosh, fantastic. Grate the cauliflower raw, then add a bit of water and put it on medium in a covered frying pan 'til it starts to turn translucent. So easy. Also, add an anaheim pepper if you want it flavorfully spicy. I seriously might have a new favorite food. And so good for you, too!!

  25. I've just discovered the joys of cauliflower rice (I know, embarrassing), and have linked to this on my last post (=bookmarked for next time :))

  26. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  27. By "green pepper" do you mean bell or jalepeno? And for the 8oz tomatoes, can you use diced tomatoes?


  28. Tina ~ Green pepper = a green bell pepper. Could you add jalapeño? Of course, to taste. And yes, fresh diced tomatoes would work beautifully. Let me know how it goes!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna